Distraction-based accidents have always existed, but they have definitely ramped up since the invention of the smartphone. It’s just very easy for people to get distracted in the car by their phone, most people have their phone with them all the time and it’s been shown that phones are very addictive. This has created a perfect storm for car accidents and it’s become very dangerous.
For instance, the statistics from 2018 claim that distraction-based accidents led to roughly 15% of all injuries, with about 400,00 total injuries. They also led to 8% of fatalities, with 2,841 people losing their lives in these accidents. All told, about 14% of crashes that were reported to the police were caused by distraction.
All of this is bad enough on its own, with thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries, not to mention an incredible amount of property damage. But the reality is that this probably only scratches the surface of the full amount of distraction-based accidents.
How do you prove distraction?
One of the big problems with this is that it’s not always that easy to prove that a driver was distracted. If someone was spotted on a dashcam talking on the phone at the moment of an accident, then there is proof. But this isn’t something an officer can show up and test for after the fact, like alcohol-affected crashes. If the driver is not on their phone at the scene and claims they weren’t while driving, the officer may not be able to prove otherwise.
Now, there have been other ways that people have proven distraction, such as looking up phone records and finding out that someone sent a text message only a second or two before causing an accident. But a lot of phone usage doesn’t leave these types of records. If someone was just browsing through pictures that they took or looking for a new song in their music library, there may be no proof that can really be gathered.
What all this suggests is that the totals for distraction-based accidents are always going to be low because you’re always going to have crashes that happen where the driver denies being distracted. They’re the only one who knows that is what led to the accident.
However, if you’ve been injured in an accident caused by another driver, whether they were admitted to being distracted or not, you may be able to seek financial compensation.